Tag Archives: clutter

Don’t Let Your Values Live at the Bottom of Your Piles

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Wisdom has it, a major key to mastering our lives is to live by our values. 

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Disorganization can place a heavy price-tag on our personal integrity. Dreams go unfulfilled when our stuff takes more energy than our visions. Values go by the wayside when unmanagabiity with time and stuff creates distraction, procrastination and avoidance.
 
In my favorite organizing book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, Marilyn Paul, Ph.D.,
shares her journey of coming out of denial around her personal disorganization that rendered her best intentions to shape and shift the world moot, becuase she couldn’t get out the front door with the car keys or the documents she needed. When Marilyn took on her disorganization like the worthy project it was, everything shifted. It took time, curiosity, patience, trial and error, discovery and commitment, but through it she gained dignity, integrity, and power. 
 
Organizing One Value At a Time
Our values lie at the shiny center of who we are. They can become distorted, obscured or ignored, but they remain integral. They can be the spark of inspiration for change. They can also give us the motivation we need when our spirits flag from our efforts to change the habitual patterns with stuff and time that may have gotten us stuck.

 Here’s a small practical, personal example:
I learned a few facts a while ago that put me in action. I learned that 28 billion single-serving bottles of water are purchased each year in the United States. It takes 17 million barrels of oil (enough to fuel a million cars for a year) to produce these bottles. Only 20% get recycled and some wind up as ocean debris – those big plastic islands you may have seen pictures of. As a lover of this Earth, and a supporter of peace, this tugs at my core.

So…..I made a commitment last year to stop purchasing plastic bottles.

Sound like an easy commitment, right?

Well, between forgetting my pretty metal eco-water bottle at home, rushing out without time to refill it, and leaving a series of them on subways and under movie theater seats, I resorted to more plastic purchases than I would have liked.

Finally, with continued determination and refinement, I’ve got a backpack that’s replaced my handbag. It’s got a side holder that perfectly houses my Camel bottle — so the bottle never has a chance to escape under a seat, or park bench. I’ve got two bottles I fill daily, so they’re in rotation – there’s always a backup in the fridge to grab when I’m in a rush, and I always make sure there’s one in my backpack, even at home – so there’s no chance I leave without it. It takes me a few minutes of conscious effort a day to make sure the bottles are filled and nestled into my pack and fridge.  

 
It took almost a year to get this system down. Am I deluding myself that MY re-fillable water bottle is saving the planet? Nope. Do I feel better, keeping my personal commitment to not purchasing more plastic bottles? Absolutely! And by allowing my values to lead my efforts to get organized – I practiced problem-solving skills to find a system that works for me. I can apply these problem-solving skills to other areas of my life that need organizing. And the system I’ve developed has a ripple effect. While I’m filling my water bottles, I’ll often take another 3 minutes to wash up whatever dishes are in the sink, or discard the expired leftovers in the fridge, keeping my space clear, and further enhancing the shiny feeling I’ve cultivated.

The pay-off of esteem I get for living my eco-value gives me mojo I can apply to other areas of my life. I can change my world – and the bigger world – one value at a time. 

I’m a firm believer we can all find the organization we need to live empowered in the world, getting the results we desire for ourselves. If you can trust a process of curiosity, trial and error, and sustained commitment – you will find your own personal organization and you will create the systems you need to thrive.
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Baby-stepping with your Stuff

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I had a recent session with a writer who was feeling down….the inkwell of imagination dried up….feeling unaccomplished.

She needed to go to her files, her drawers, her closets to pull out all her printed drafts of all the work she’d done and leave them out for a while to “see” her work.

Gratifying, validating for a time, seeing all the paper piled high, she then felt a need to “see” further – She called me in and we began discerning the drafts – we separated – 1st play: version 1-8, 1st screenplay versions 1-6, etc.

At this point, she began to feel ready to purge the old drafts….a feeling of completion took over the need to see her work. In order to move on, she now needed the clarity of an empty space…a new beginning.

This process of interacting with her drafts was part of her artistic process – She was not sure if she was “done” with her plays yet —

Without throwing them out, the exercise of taking inventory re-positioned her. With clarity, she was in a new space to make decisions.

She stood in a place of readiness to be open to the next “direction” form the muse/god/ psyche….

There’s a notion in feng shui – If you’re feeling stuck with your stuff, move 20 objects…..just shift them slightly – move one pile from the left corner of your desk to the right, shift the angle of objects on a mantle piece, move the soap dish to a shelf. Shake up the energy of your environment. Sometimes it’s enough to shift your internal landscape so you can “see” what’s next

Baby steps are effective. Remember when you were learning to walk? You’ve come a long way, baby. Keep stepping.

Hey, New York…Come Clean & Win Big!

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 Submit a photo of your messy clothing closet for a chance to win a Closet Makeover from NY Professional Organizers in honor of NAPO-NY’s 25th Anniversary! One lucky winner will be chosen to receive a Closet Makeover.clost

One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • One-on-one organizing session with a group of New York Professional Organizers, valued at $5000.00
  • One year all inclusive subscription to Garde Robe, valued at $4200.00, which offers museum-quality storage for clothing, shoes and accessories, plus complimentary pick up and delivery. All stored items can be viewed and requested on the Garde Robe Cyber Closet. Garde Robe is the only service of its kind here in NYC and in the nation.
  • $250.00 gift certificate to The Container Store.

Prizes are non-transferable and may not be redeemed for cash; substitutions may not be requested. By participating in this contest and accepting these prizes, participants and winner will be deemed to agree to these rules and policies. Travel is not included unless specifically stated. Contest Providers reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

All entries must be received by 5pm (Eastern Time) on Friday May 24, 2013. The finalists must be available for a telephone interview and possible in person viewing of their wardrobe closet between May 25 – June 1, 2013. The winner will be chosen by NAPO NY’s closet Makeover Team. The winner will be announced on Thursday June 6, 2013.

The winner must be available the weekend of June 22 and 23th for the actual makeover. The winner also agrees to be photographed and videotaped during the process.

ELIGIBILITY
The Contest is open to legal residents of of New York City who are twenty-one(21) years or older at the time of entry. All photos and applications must be submitted by the owner of the closet. No second party entries accepted. Void where prohibited by law.

 

DEADLINES
The contest starts on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Entries must be received no later than 5:00PM (EDT) on Friday May 24, 2013. Under no circumstances will submissions be accepted after the deadline. Applications submitted close to the posted deadline do so with this deadline in mind.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.

Read the rules and policies , take a picture of your closet, and submit your application!

Take a Break, for Goodness Sake

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“I learned … that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”   -Brenda Ueland
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Many of us don’t know HOW to take breaks, and some of us, have a compulsion to avoid breaks all together. This is a sign that something is off — our relationship to using time to “do” is actually unhealthy. Here are some ways we can “fill” our time that are out of alignment with our well-being:

  • Shoulds– a compelling sense of obligation to someone or something outside ourselves, often motivated by fear rather than genuine need or desire.
  • Time sink holes – draining situations and commitments that don’t nourish or reward us.
  • Over commitment – not being able to say “No”,  or deriving self-worth and definition by how much one can do.
  • Distractions – time spent motivated by avoidance of what’s important.
  • Preoccupations, Obsessions or Active Resentment – planning retaliation, complaining, gossiping.
  • Non-Selectivity – wanting everything, now. Refusing to prioritize.
  • Pushing the Edge/One More-Thing-Itis: –  and getting a high off how much can be squeezed into a day and beating the clock: almost missing deadlines, important appointments, obligations to children, etc.

These behaviors can come from a poor sense of self-esteem and a need to prove oneself through accomplishment, or paradoxically, by sabotaging accomplishment.

Like may issues of esteem and worthiness, a spiritual approach can be an effective remedy.

 Here are a few ways to cultivate a healing relationship to time:

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  • Set aside a half hour a day (use a timer) for spiritual reflection – meditation, a walk in nature, reading spiritual literature, journaling.
  • Put yourself first in your day – Start your day by asking: “What do I absolutely need today to enjoy a peaceful, joyous time? What’s my self-care bottom-line? To whom and how do I effectively communicate my needs to today? What support do I have to stay on track? – Then make sure you take action on your answers.
  • One-in/One-out rule for commitments – make it a standard, for every new commitment you take on, you must complete or let go of a current one of equal scope and time commitment first.
  • Practice a pause before saying “Yes”. – When asked to do something you’re not sure you want to do – Say, “I’d love to think about this. Let me do that tonight, an I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
  • Make a list of lovely ways you’d like to take a break – I.e., putting on headphones and dancing around the room, making a cup of tea, walking in a nearby park, etc. Then, wen you find yourself in unhealthy distraction territory, allow yourself to take a legitimate break doing something that’s truly restorative.
  • Get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise and water – self care is SO important for our brains to make good decisions and our ability to focus – suss out if any of these could be the root of your non productivity.
  • Work with a professional organizer to help set up structures for your time, get accountability and ongoing support.
  • For negative thoughts, obsessions, and resentments, or any other compulsive, destructive time-filling  – consider the support of a therapist or Clutters Anonymous, Underearners Anonymous or Workaholics Anonymous. Many people have found they get tremendous support in changing these patterns with the support of a group.

Executive desk

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Tamara desk

Love this picture by Danny Ghitis of the NY Times. Tamara Mellon’s ample, luxurious desktop at home in the UES, NYC.

Do you have the work space worthy of who you are and what you do in the world?

Compassionate Workplace #2: Declutter- It’s not just for Oprah!

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Often it’s the “getting started” that’s the hardest barrier to cross in organizing. I love hearing how different people ease there way into the process…

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It appears that Oprah has made decluttering her mission in every Spring. And why not? It’s a great thing.

photo-5I have discovered (rather too late) that my productivity is directly related to how clean my desk is. (Surprise!)

I think what’s important is not not my realization but why. My productivity equals to my creativity. When I am not being productive, I am not creating anything. I’m not producing anything new, fun, useful or loving. What’s also important is that when I’m not feeling creative, it’s because I often feel anxious. Not all the time. But certainly a lot of the times. I think about unpaid bills, Emails I have not replied, issues I have not dealt with, taxes I have not sorted out etc etc. Cluttering is a way of avoiding and numbing. There are certain things I don’t want to deal with so I pile them up…

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